General Liability Insurance
General liability insurance, also known as commercial liability insurance or business liability insurance, is a type of insurance policy that helps protect businesses from claims that happen as a result of normal operations.
Business liability insurance typically provides coverage to small businesses for bodily injuries, medical payments, advertising injuries and more.
Commercial General Liability Insurance 101
A Commercial General Liability (CGL) policy protects your business from financial loss should you be liable for property damage or personal and advertising injury caused by your services, business operations or your employees. It covers non-professional negligent acts. Understanding this coverage is an important first step in managing CGL risks.
Here are just a few examples of situations in which your business could be responsible for paying various costs, such as medical and legal expenses, as well as compensatory and punitive damages:
While visiting your business, a customer trips on loose flooring and is injured.
An employee in your painting or construction business accidentally leaves water running, causing substantial damage to a customer’s home.
A class action lawsuit is filed against your business, alleging advertisements constituted misleading information.
What commercial general liability insurance covers
A CGL insurance policy will usually cover the costs of your legal defense and will pay on your behalf all damages if you are found liable—up to the limits of your policy. CGL coverage is one of the most important insurance products, due to the negative impact that a lawsuit can have on a business and because such liability suits happen so frequently. Standard CGL includes:
Bodily Injury LiabilityThis coverage applies to injuries that the policyholder and family members listed on the policy cause to someone else. These individuals are also covered when driving other peoples’ cars with permission. As motorists in serious accidents may be sued for large amounts, drivers can opt to buy more than the state-required minimum to protect personal assets such as homes and savings.
Medical Payments or Personal Injury Protection (PIP)This coverage pays for the treatment of injuries to the driver and passengers of the policyholder’s car. At its broadest, PIP can cover medical payments, lost wages, and the cost of replacing services normally performed by someone injured in an auto accident. It may also cover funeral costs.
Property Damage LiabilityThis coverage pays for damage policyholders (or someone driving the car with their permission) may cause to someone else’s property. Usually, this means damage to someone else’s car, but it also includes damage to lamp posts, telephone poles, fences, buildings, or other structures hit in an accident.
CollisionThis coverage pays for damage to the policyholder’s car resulting from a collision with another car or object or as a result of flipping over. It also covers damage caused by potholes. Collision coverage is generally sold with a deductible of $250 to $1,000—the higher the deductible, the lower the premium. Even if policyholders are at fault for an accident, collision coverage will reimburse them for the costs of repairing the car, minus the deductible. If the policyholder is not at fault, the insurance company may try to recover the amount it paid from the other driver’s insurance company. If the company is successful, policyholders will also be reimbursed for the deductible.
ComprehensiveThis coverage reimburses for loss due to theft or damage caused by something other than a collision with another car or object, such as fire, falling objects, missiles, explosions, earthquakes, windstorms, hail, flood, vandalism, and riots, or contact with animals such as birds or deer. Comprehensive insurance is usually sold with a $100 to $300 deductible, though policyholders may opt for a higher deductible as a way of lowering their premium. Comprehensive insurance may also reimburse the policyholder if a windshield is cracked or shattered. Some companies offer separate glass coverage with or without a deductible. States do not require the purchase of collision or comprehensive coverage, but lenders may insist borrowers carry it until a car loan is paid off.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist CoverageUninsured motorist coverage will reimburse the policyholder, a member of the family, or a designated driver if one of them is hit by an uninsured or a hit-and-run driver. Underinsured motorist coverage comes into play when an at-fault driver has insufficient insurance to pay for the other driver’s total loss. This coverage will also protect a policyholder who is hit while a pedestrian.
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